One of the main reasons why we completely stopped buying coffees at coffee shops is basic economics. Buying a cup/mug or two a day adds up to a lot of money over a year. In fact, you'd probably be surprised to learn that the Starbucks coffee you love so much could end up costing you as much as a very expensive Italian espresso machine...even one with a touchscreen interface!
And by expensive, we don't mean a couple of hundred bucks, but well into the thousands of dollars! Conservatively, if you get yourself a mug of cappuccino, latte, or Americano, from your favorite store that cost about $4, four to six times a week, you'll end up spending between $800 and $1,200 per year on coffee. If you get yourself two coffees per day, each and every day of the work week, you'd be spending over $2,000 per year on coffee. Let's not even think about people who get three Starbucks coffees per day (at least $3,000). These numbers start snowballing very quickly if you frequent quite a few coffee shops.
Back in August, I was working quite a few hours, as well as writing, teaching, and going to graduate school. With my heavy schedule, I found that I needed power naps and lots of coffee to keep me going. After a few weeks, I quickly ran the numbers in my head, which was straightforward, and saw how much money I could potentially be spending if I did this each and every month. I opted to get myself a vacuum coffee maker, a coffee bean grinder, and expensive beans. Within a few weeks, my appliances were paid off and I was starting to save money.
The basic ingredients for a good mug cappuccino cost about 50 cents. That's a stark contrast to what you pay in coffee shops. If you're a drink a lot of coffee, logic dictates that you can get yourself an expensive espresso machine and pay it off within a few months, depending on how much money you usually spend on coffee.
Here are some of our favorite espresso machines:
1. Swiss-Made Jura Capresso Coffee & Espresso Machines: Jura Capresso machines are quite good, but they can get expensive quickly. Still, you can get away with an excellent machine for around $700. The ENA 3 is a good bet, especially if you can find it refurbished for around $500.
2. Gaggia and Modo Mio Espresso Machines: The Gaggia is a good bet for someone who doesn't want to break the bank with an overly expensive machine. It still brews a mean cup of java, but it works with capsules, so you can't experiment.
3. Futuristic Espresso Machines: We like the GRAEF ES91, but it's just on the verge of being too expensive. New, it sells for a grand. For that money, you can get very good machines from a variety of manufacturers. The trick we've found is to look for deals, including second-hand and refurbished machines.
4. Touch Screen Espresso Machines: If you don't really want to spend time making your own cup and watching over it (which has sort of become a ritual for us), then look no further than these machines that have touch screens.
5. Gaggia Super Automatic Espresso Machines: One of the main benefits of getting an espresso machine is that you can brew a variety of different types of coffee, which is something that you can't do with a plain vanilla coffee maker. From crema coffee, to a latte or a capuccino, these machines can do most of them extremely well. They start at around $800 and go up to $1,300.
MORE COFFEE MACHINES
5 Great & Sleek Espresso Machines
Touch Screen Espresso Machines
5 Stylish Espresso Machines
(Images: Flickr members Ernst Vikne licensed for use under Creative Commons and INeedCoffee licensed for use under Creative Commons)